Photograph: Photo by Sascha Kohlmann, used under CC BY-SA

A record high 17.1 million people of foreign background were registered in Germany in 2015, which was a fifth of Germany's population, and 297,875 Croatian passport-holders lived in Germany at the end of last year, the German statistical office has stated.

"In 2015, more people than ever before (17.1 million) had a migrant background in Germany. Based on the results of the 2015 microcensus, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that this was a 4.4% increase compared with a year earlier. The population with a migrant background accounted for 21.0% of the country's total population. The unusually high increase was mainly due to the immigration of foreign people. In 2015, 11.5 million immigrants lived in Germany, which was an increase of 5.5% on the preceding year," the Federal Statistical Office, based in Wiesbaden, stated on its web site.

Broken down by ethnic background, Turks were the most numerous residents with a migrant background in Germany, 1.5 million.

They were followed by residents who had their origins in the Russian Federation and Poland.

At the end of 2015, the number of Croatians stood at 297,875, which was a marked rise from 223,056 in 2008.

Also, a significant rise in the number of Croatians who take German citizenship has been registered since Croatia joined the EU in mid-2013. For instance, before Croatia's admission to the EU, 300-400 Croatians were annually granted German citizenship, while in 2014 as many as 3,889 Croats were given German citizenship.

One of the conditions for acquiring citizenship is legal permanent stay in Germany for at least eight years.

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